Highly hazardous chemicals must be stored in a well-ventilated secure area that is designated for this purpose. Cyanides must be stored in a tightly closed container that is securely locked in a cool dry cabinet to which access is restricted. Protect cyanide containers against physical damage and separate them from incompatibles. When handling cyanides, follow good hygiene practices and regularly inspect your PPE. Use proper disposal techniques.

Flammable liquids should be stored in approved flammable-liquid containers and storage cabinets. Observe National Fire Protection Association, International Building Code, International Fire Code, and other local code requirements that limit the quantity of flammables per cabinet, laboratory space, and building. Consult the local fire marshal for assistance, if needed. Store odiferous materials in ventilated cabinets. Chemical storage cabinets may be used for long-term storage of limited amounts of chemicals.

Rooms that are used specifically for chemical storage and handling (i.e., preparation rooms, storerooms, waste collection rooms, and laboratories) should be controlled-access areas that are identified with appropriate signage. Chemical storage rooms should be designed to provide proper ventilation, two means of access/egress, vents and intakes at both ceiling and floor levels, a diked floor, and a fire suppression system. If flammable chemicals are stored in the room, the chemical storage area must be a spark-free environment and only spark-free tools should be used within the room. Special grounding and bonding must be installed to prevent static charge while dispensing solvents.

2.D.3 Chemical Handling

Important information about handling chemicals can be found in the MSDS. A comprehensive file of MSDSs must be kept in the laboratory or be readily accessible online to all employees during all work shifts. Trained laboratory personnel should always read and heed the label and the MSDS before using a chemical for the first time. Laboratory personnel should be familiar with the types of PPE that must be worn when handling the chemical. Ensure that the ventilation will be adequate to handle the chemicals in the laboratory. One should be familiar with the institutional CHP and EAP so that appropriate actions are taken in the event of a chemical spill, fire, or explosion.

2.D.4 Chemical Inventory

The OSHA Laboratory Standard, Appendix A, section D.2(b) (Chemical Procurement, Distribution, and Storage), states, “Stored chemicals should be examined periodically (at least annually) for replacement, deterioration, and container integrity.” Section D.2(d) states, “Periodic inventories should be conducted, with unneeded items being discarded or returned to the storeroom/stockroom.” Though Appendix A is not mandatory, compliance with the standard is an element of good laboratory management. On a basic level, you cannot safely manage something if you do not know that you have it on-site. Thus, a system for maintaining an accurate inventory of the laboratory chemicals on campus or within an organization is essential for compliance with local and state regulations and any building codes that apply.

There are many benefits of performing annual physical chemical inventory updates:

   ensures that chemicals are stored according to compatibility tables,

   eliminates unneeded or outdated chemicals,

   increases ability to locate and share chemicals in emergency situations,

   updates the hazard warning signage on the laboratory door,

   promotes more efficient use of laboratory space,

   checks expiration dates of peroxide formers,

   ensures integrity of shelving and storage cabinets,

   encourages laboratory supervisors to make “executive decisions” about discarding dusty bottles of chemicals,

   repairs/replaces torn or missing labels and broken caps on bottles,

   ensures compliance with all federal, state, and local record-keeping regulations,

   promotes good relations and a sense of trust with the community and the emergency responders,

   reduces the risk of exposure to hazardous materials and ensures a clean and healthful laboratory environment, and

   may reduce costs by making staff aware of chemicals available within the organization.

Every laboratory should maintain an up-to-date chemical inventory. A physical chemical inventory should be performed at least annually, or as requested by the CHO. Although the software that is used to maintain the inventory and the method of performing the chemical inventory will vary from one institution to another, ultimately, the chemical inventory should include the following information:

   chemical name,

   Chemical Abstract Service number,

   manufacturer,

   owner,

   room number, and

   location of chemical within the room.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement